You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
In a few weeks' time, Northern Districts might come to regard a miserable late afternoon at Eden Park with considerable fondness.
They pulled off their fourth win in five HRV Cup games to sit four points clear at the top of the table after a rain-hit Duckworth Lewis contest against Auckland.
With rain coming and going through the contest, the upshot was Auckland were left 73 to win in six overs and got nowhere near it, finishing on 49 for six to hand ND a 23-run win by the D/L system.
Put this victory squarely down to Northern Districts captain Scott Styris.
Three comings and goings of players and ground staff eventually settled into ND having 12 overs to bat, after being sent in.
Anton Devcich clattered the bowling about for a short time, being the first, but by no means the last batsman to send a ball to the Mobil station across the road from the outer oval.
Then former international Styris took charge to show just what an asset he would still be for the New Zealand Twenty20 side if he was available.
The powerful Styris slammed eight sixes in his 26-ball unbeaten 68. At one point, Styris helped himself to five sixes in seven successive deliveries.
The culprits, from Auckland's perspective, were Colin de Grandhomme and Andre Adams. In the space of four overs from the pair, Styris and James Marshall helped themselves to 69 runs, their stand worth 73 in a hectic 4.1 overs.
When it was over, ND had reached 142 for four. Styris put a couple of Adams' deliveries high into the back of the main oval, but he wasn't fussy; both sides of the ground got a good sight of the ball.
It was a wretched day in most cricketing respects and maybe it should have been called off early. But then Styris gave plenty to cheer, even if Auckland weren't exactly enjoying the spectacle.
In Wellington, ferocious hitting by the home side got them to 213-5 off just 18 overs as they posted a 53-run win over Central Districts.
Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal hit 35 off 20 balls; Jesse Ryder 47 off 22, English pro Chris Woakes an unbeaten 55 off 29 and Grant Elliott 35 off just 18 as Wellington clattered the CD attack.
Central mustered 160-5 in reply with Mathew Sinclair top scoring with 71 off 43 balls.
Auckland host Wellington at Eden Park on the main oval on Friday night and ND visit New Plymouth to play Central Districts on Saturday.
Points table: ND 16, Wellington 12, Auckland 8, Otago 8, Canterbury 0, CD 0.
- By David Leggat of the New Zealand Herald